Champion night as Leeds United fanzine takes national title

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Leeds United may be in turmoil off the pitch but their fans have already managed to pick up one of the season’s most coveted titles.

United fanzine The Square Ball has been named best in its field at the annual Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) Awards in London.

It saw off competition from five other finalists, including Manchester United fanzine United We Stand.

The result, which was decided by a public vote, comes in The Square Ball’s 25th anniversary year.

And today the people behind the fanzine told of their pride at winning back an award they previously lifted in 2011.

One member of the production team, Paul O’Dowd, said: “A massive thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for us. We really appreciate it.

“Winning twice out of four years is some achievement – and beating Manchester United just made it sweeter.”

Another member of the team, Michael Normanton, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “I guess we’re lucky in that Leeds United are the club that just keeps on giving – we’re never short of things to write about.”

A bevy of Square Ball writers were present to raise a glass or two in celebration as their victory was announced at last night’s ceremony, staged in the stylish surroundings of the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.

Famous faces at the bash included Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero and player-turned-pundit Robbie Savage.

Aguero took the fans’ vote for player of the year at the event, held in association with bookmaker William Hill.

He said: “I’m happy to receive this award from the fans, very happy.

“It’s a really special award as it’s from the supporters and I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at the club. Not just the players but the coaching staff and technical team as well.”

Other FSF winners included Martin Tyler (commentator of the year), The Guardian (newspaper of the year), Amy Lawrence (writer of the year), Gary Neville (pundit of the year) and Football Weekly (podcast/radio show of the year).

Football Weekly edged out talkSPORT show The Warm Up, which is co-hosted by James Brown, the Leeds-born publisher and journalist who founded Loaded magazine.

News of The Square Ball’s win came on the same day that the Football League dramatically banned Massimo Cellino from acting as director and owner of Leeds United.